Giuliani: Hope for civil Medicare debate

Aug. 19, 2012 at 3:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Adding Rep. Paul Ryan to the U.S. presidential race could lead to a civil debate on the future of Medicare, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Sunday.

Giuliani said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney upped the ante in the campaign by bringing in Ryan, R-Wisc., a high-profile budget hawk whom the Democrats have accused of wanting to gut Medicare.

"The idea that Paul Ryan wants to end Medicare is just a total lie," Giuliani said. "What he wants to do is straighten it out. He wants to save it because it's going to go bankrupt if we don't save it. So let's have a debate about it."

"And I think the president also wants to save Medicare," Giuliani said. "They have two different ways of doing it. Let's have a debate about that. That's far better than their calling us names and our calling them names."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the White House should also welcome a serious debate, but told CBS he had his doubts about Ryan's ability to see all sides of the issue based on his past record.

"We know the record. Paul Ryan initiated the debate to privatize Social Security, and when the stock market cratered during the recession, he stopped talking about it," Durbin said. "Then he started the effort to privatize Medicare with his voucher system. That might work for a senior who is healthy and wealthy, but if you're not, you're going to face a $500 a month increase in Medicare premiums."

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